About Us


2017-18 Staff

staffphoto1718

Back Row, left to right: Elise Morgan, Sarah Huber Jack Leonard, Jane Borjas
Front Row, left to right: Lisha Goldberg, Char Sidell

2017-18 Staff
elise morganElise Morgan
Science Center Director/Elementary Science Specialist
Elise took on the position of Science Center Director/Elementary Science Specialist in the fall of 2014. Prior to working in Needham, Elise was Professional Development Provider for the Museum of Science Boston, working on the Engineering is Elementary curriculum. She also has over ten years experience teaching in middle school and multi-grade classrooms. Elise received her Master's in Environmental Science from Antioch New England Graduate School in Keene, NH and her undergraduate degree in Biology at Earlham College, in Indiana.
Elise is passionate about STEM education and believes in the power of teachers to ignite student's curiosity in the universe and the human-made world. She strives to make science a subject that captures student interest and helps them see the connection to other subjects. She also sees the importance of building students' technological literacy, and wants students to understand how scientists and engineers deeply affect the world they live in. She is excited to be part of the Needham community and is working to make the Science Center an accessible, inviting and modern resource for teachers, students and their families.

 

lisha goldbergLisha Goldberg
Program Specialist
"Ms G," as she known around town, is an elementary classroom teacher and proficient editor. Lisha brings many of her personal passions and experiences with children to her work at the Needham Science Center. One of her primary duties in the Science Center is the live animal classroom visit program coordinator. She authors books, creates programs and designs curriculum to accompany the animals and enrich the learning experience for the learners. Lisha is the Science Center's link to Needham's geological past as Ms G and the Magic School Bus Geology Fieldtrip bus tour. Some of her other duties include: Coaching NPS staff, presenter of programs, field trip guide, daily animal care and keeper of all animal records. After hours, Lisha continues to represent science in her many volunteer experiences.

 

sarah huberSarah Huber
Program Specialist
Sarah joined the Science Center in February, 2016. After three years as a middle school science teacher, she shifted her career path to informal science education and spent the next 7 years with the Museum of Science Boston and Habitat/Massaudubon Education Center. She loves hands-on science and has a passion for outdoor education. When she is not at the Science Center she enjoys hiking in the White Mountains and camping.

 

jane borjasJane Borjas
STEAM Teacher/Program Specialist
Jane Borjas is part of the STEAM Program in Needham and teaches engineering to students in grades 1-3 throughout the district. Jane brings 10 years of experience teaching elementary students science and engineering. She guides students through the engineering and design process using the Engineering is Elementary program from the Museum of Science. “It is wonderful to be a part of a program where students work together to solve problems, create and test solutions, and then work to improve their projects.” Jane received her Bachelors' of Science from Immaculata College and her Masters in Education from Cambridge College. In her spare time, Jane enjoys nature walks and visiting National Parks.

 

Char SidellChar Sidell
Interim Science Center Librarian
(September 2017 through January 2018)
We are delighted to welcome back Char Sidell as librarian while Michele takes a much-deserved Sabbatical. We wouldn't have a library if it weren't for Char, who put in many hours as a volunteer to begin cataloging our 50-year-old collection of books, kits, science equipment... not to mention a skeleton or two in our closets. This time around Char will be an official member of the Science Center staff.

 

Michele MarramMichele Marram
Science Center Librarian
(On Sabbatical until January 2018)

Michele Marram has been the Science Center Librarian since July 2013. She is responsible for cataloging and describing all of our materials and making them accessible to users through our online database. She wants to ensure that staff and students have appropriate sources to teach, learn and stimulate their curiosity. If you would like Michele to create a customized list for you or provide one-on-one or group tutorials in using the catalog she is happy to oblige. Michele also works as a librarian in Newman, Needham High School, and Wellesley Free Library. She is a lifelong librarian/archivist; during her professional career she has worked at Harvard University, Shell Oil Company, the National Archives, and Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories. Special interests include folklore around the world and the history of children's literature.

Our History
Psst: Are you in any of these photos? If you are, please call the Science Center. We'd love to hear from you!

norman harrisNorman Harris
First Science Center Director
1964-1978
The Needham Science Center began as an idea in the mind of former Needham Public Schools' Superintendent, William Powers. Mr. Powers wanted to see "exciting" science happen in the Needham classrooms.
He noticed visitors to the Boston Museum of Science returning again and again to experience more science. He envisioned using a "museum approach" to make science "come alive" for students and teachers in the schools. Mr. Powers convinced Norman Harris, the renowned Director of Education and early television personality of the Museum of Science, to try this approach in Needham. Intrigued by the possibilities, Mr. Harris agreed to the experiment and the Needham Science Center was established in 1964.

Larry WhiteLarry White
Magician, Author
Director 1978-1998
Larry White, physical science whiz, magician, author, and Supervisor of Programs and Courses at the Museum of Science joined Mr. Harris in Needham in 1965. The first three years were government funded but the success of the program inspired the town to add the Science Center to the school budget.
After Mr. Harris's 1978 retirement, Larry White became Director. He hired Dan DeWolf, then Science Specialist for the Newton Public Schools, as Assistant Director. For the next 20 years the team of White and DeWolf, together with their staffers, kept the Needham Science Center in the national limelight.
Thanks to the inspirational leadership of Larry White and Dan DeWolf, a Needham High School graduate, John Papadonis, went on to establish The Burlington Science Center, in Burlington, MA. Our "sister" science center celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2014.

Dan DeWolfDan DeWolf
Master Craftsman and Taxidermist
Director 1998-2001
In 1998 Mr. DeWolf became Director upon Mr. White's retirement.
Sadly, both Norm Harris and Larry White died in 2009.



Anne SchloderAnne Schloder
Science=Fun
Director 2001-2007

In 2001, Mr. DeWolf handed the reins over to then Science Center staffer, Anne Schloder.
Ms. Schloder, a 14-year veteran of the Burlington Science Center, showed Needham staff and students alike how to have fun while studying science. Under Ms. Schloder's direction, the Science Center supported Needham's science curriculum with top-notch programs, kits, and activities. Ms. Schloder led the way in creating curriculum-based science activities to accompany new structures in Needham schools, such as Mitchell's cold frame and Broadmeadow's kinetic science sculpture.

maryMary Rizzuto
Opened the Science Center to the Public
Director 2007-2014

In 2007, Ms. Mary Rizzuto was hired to serve as both Science Center Director and Elementary Science Curriculum Specialist. Ms. Rizzuto, was charged with aligning the Needham Public Schools elementary science curriculum to the Massachusetts frameworks and establishing an inquiry-based kindergarten through grade 5 curriculum sequence. She was asked to open the doors of the Science Center to the public, welcome support from the community and provide an active link between science in the schools and the wider community. Perhaps "Ms. Mary's" most popular innovation is Family Science Night, a district-wide event filled with interactive displays, activities, and workshops.
"Ms. Mary" came from the Cambridge Public Schools, where she served as a classroom teacher and a Grade K-6 Science Specialist. Mary's background also includes extensive experience as a teacher researcher and adjunct professor. Mary's brought with her a belief in collaboration, a deep respect for the craft of classroom teaching, a delight in children's inquisitiveness, a desire to get students outdoors, and a passion for inquiry science and engineering.

Awards and Recognition

The Needham Science Center has received many recognitions including the once a year Pacemaker Award. It was involved in commercial educational programming (Classroom-5, Science Countdown, Observing Eye, Kid's Thing, TV High School, Earth Lab, Body Works). The Center won an ACT (Action for Children's Television) award, the Ohio State Award for TV Excellence, "Excellence in Science Education" by the National Science Foundation, and a "Class Act" award by WHDH-TV. Both Larry White and Dan DeWolf were inducted into the Massachusetts Hall of Fame for Science Educators.
Our Center received additional national recognition when it was featured in the "American Scene" pages of TIME magazine for April 4, l988 (Vol. 131, No. 14). We also authored magazine articles, National Engineering Week materials, National Science Week posters for the National Science Foundation and were featured in their newsletter "Directions". We have participated on numerous advisory boards and hosted workshops at the Center for national conferences.

During the 2006-2007 school year, the Science Center made the news again when, together with the Town of Needham Public Works Department, the Center received the Public Educator Award from the New England Water Environment Association. To support the DPW's mandate to educate students on storm water issues, the Science Center created an auditorium presentation titled "Oh No! Not Down The Drain!" Over 2000 elementary students viewed the show, which starred the entire Science Center staff and a DPW employee. After watching the presentation, every student had the opportunity to explore several DPW trucks.
Since 1964 our Center has worked with well over 100,000 Needham students and 1200 Needham teachers, providing Natural History, Biology, Physical Science, Earth & Space Science and Applied Science education of the highest caliber. We remain committed to making science "Come Alive" in the Needham Public Schools.

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